High school is where the heart is.

Where I went to school, everyone knew who they were. We were the best, and that was proven because we were there.

We had yet to feel the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

I see the faces now that were my family in those days, and I feel this thin, clear string, like a fishing line, that links me to them.

We are different now– a little longer, a little stiller, little duller in tone– but with something inside that can only come from being trusted with a future from the age of 16.

I touch these waists, these shoulders, and I feel how we’ve grown thicker, tougher. Real life has no mercy for the special. We have experienced love now, loss, disappointment and frustration. We are thicker because we’ve blistered, then calloused.

And yet we are here. We touch, we whisper, we giggle. My hand around her waist, her squeeze, her voice, is the same as it ever was. The gasps over kisses shared, the bluntness of our expressions of love, the easy comfort of each other’s company.

When you are sixteen and the best, you are untouchable.
And yet, everything touches you.

Every face is burned into your memory, every nice thing ever said, every hurtful moment. The wind on the lake. The smell of her room. The slippery concrete, iced over, between the cafeteria and your 8am class.

We grew up together. We formed a world in which only we existed.

College was wonderful. I made important, remarkable friends in college.

But to be sixteen and on our own, hemmed between two lakes, yet without the bind of the “real world” telling us who to be, we were special. Our parents let us go so we could become who we are.

There is nothing like that place, and those years, in the entire world. We built it, and it’s stronger than that land, those buildings, or any one of us. If we went back it wouldn’t be there.

Where it is now is at a bar on Orchard Street, with arms wrapped around each other, easy laughter and genuine interest in each other’s minutiae. It is in a rehearsal room on 29th street, where suddenly you are not alone; the you of those moments when things started to become clear, are known by someone. It is in a Facebook message, where the years are no deterrent to the pull of that thin fishing line.

I am lucky. Not because I got to go to Interlochen, not that I was deemed “special,” not that I had good friends there. I am special because I was allowed the space to discover what was special about me. I never worried about “what I wanted,” because I had it. All that was left to me was creating the community I wanted to be with me for life. All I had to do was find my family.

And I did. I found Nora, Rebeca, Will, Drew, Auden, Holly, Warren, Tor. Even the ones who scared me– Loralee, Caroline, Chase– they are my family. We shared the moments in our lives when we began to realize who we were. We were there for the surprises, the meltdowns, the times when we suddenly realized what success, what struggle, what love WAS.

That can’t be replicated. I will never, never, have anything like what Interlochen was again. I had those years, and they live in me now. They will, forever.

I was sixteen and the best, and now I am 24 and ostensibly just like everyone else. And yet, I feel that fishing line, tugging, tight and secure, that binds me to the people and the moments when I realized who I was becoming.

These are my people. This is my universe.

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My Universes

I am a participant in so many tiny universes.

Today is A’s 28th birthday. Over the Labor Day weekend, we were at his parents’ house in PA. We drove to Annapolis to see his brother compete in a drum corps competition, we golfed nine holes at the local course, ate a lot of shitty food, played board games, and dipped in the little pool. This has been a world I never could have expected to be a part of– one that is in countless ways different from the others. It’s a humbling place to be.

On Monday night, I went to see L’s play. This is the girl who, almost two years ago, was diagnosed with Aggressive T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. I was there for her diagnosis, I was there when she checked into the hospital, I was there on her 23rd birthday when she was so frail and thin that she looked like a ghost, tubes coming out of her arms and chest, food pumped directly into her stomach. I was there when she wrote a short scene, very Ruhl, very Fornes, about a year ago. And now, that scene is a play, and that play was accepted into a festival, and I saw the closing performance, with L in the lead. I cried the whole way through, not meaning to, but unable to stop. It wasn’t sadness, either… more like pride. Admiration. I’m not sure I would have the strength and momentum to throw myself into life after the terror of the last two years. But L did it, and it was magnificent. I feel privileged to live close to her heart.

My parents are coming up for Thanksgiving. My dad hasn’t been to the city since I graduated over two years ago. I’m looking forward to it. I do miss them, but I also want them to feel like a part of my life. Whether or not I’m calling every other day or telling my secrets, I am a part of their universe as they are a part of mine.

I have a universe at work, where the students know me (some as an administrator, some as an actor, some as a peer), and the faculty know me (partly as an administrator, partly as a student, partly as a colleague). I waft through the halls in perfect comfort here, sometimes remembering as I pass ID services the night that I sat with a boy as he played his uke for me, drunken nights in the studios, crying with frustration in acting class in the black box. I have been many things in these places, but they are now mine.

My high school friends, my roommates and peers, sometimes close and sometimes just seen from a distance, live on in social media posts. They also live on television, onstage, in the news. Beyonce’s sax player lived on my hall. One of Buzzfeed’s hottest twins played my brother in a Shakespeare play. One of the princesses in Shakespeare in the Park this summer ate cheerios from the box with me in bed one night. Even people I wasn’t with in school inhabit the same small universe.

Looking at A’s Facebook page today, loaded with those lovely “Happy Birthday!”s that pop up through the day, I noticed my universes converging. That’s how life goes, I guess, and love is the catalyst for it. Actors I worked with last summer post greetings after friends from college share their blessings. A knows these people and they know him because I exist. I love A, so I bring him places. I love my friends, so I make a point to go to those places.

I know I’m not the only one with these many orbiting galaxies, meshing and meeting, with only me, my strange and special life, at the center. How did I become someone whose world has so much variance? It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I exist.

High School Yearbook

It’s the 50th anniversary of my high school alma mater, and when I open my senior yearbook the spine cracks like a knuckle pop.

The first picture of me is three page-flips in, hidden in a right corner. I’m wearing a frilly purple dress that someone’s mother made them once for Halloween and they decided they should bring to boarding school. There’s a bow on the top of my head. I’m pulling a face while next to me an Arabian gypsy, a King of the Jungle, and a Porcelain Doll grin.

In black and white are the faculty, haircuts so-five-years-ago. Familiar faces leap from the page and nestle straight into my heart.

Cutest Couple. I remember. I made the finals.

There are a few poems in the Creative Writing major’s section. I read them again, for the hundredth time, words penned by friends wise and young. They seem overwrought, now, heavy with simile and prose, thick with the maturity that comes too early in adolescence.

Page after page of round, grinning faces in suits and blacks. Musicians. Beautiful brown-haired girls with reeds to their lips, completely unaware of anything but the Shostakovich. The lopsided grin of the tall, flax-haired organ major, far from his native Texas in the non-denominational chapel, pedaling and pounding.

My heart drops as I flip through the Theatre section. I hunt around the space it leaves for the feeling there. I don’t know what it is. I let my eyes flick past the production pictures, there and gone.

The dorms are named after artists. Writers, painters, musicians. The photos of each hall, organized by RA, look like team photos for any high school club. Boys in hoodies, hanging off each other. Girls with their arms wrapped around each other. It’s easy to see them as gaggles of teens at a sleepover. I like to remind myself that they are world-class artists. It makes anything seem possible.

Faces fly past that haven’t crossed my mind in years. That girl fell into the orchestra pit and broke her nose. I fell for that boy on tour. Those boys are our class ambassadors. That girl intimidated me. That RA had a thing for my boyfriend. Those boys got expelled. I once tripped over that girl’s euphonium in the hallway.Those girls were my roommates.

There we are in our prom dresses, glowing with sweat from dancing. And there at senior dinner, spring light finally illuminating our cheeks outside the cafeteria. And look! There we are at the end of the year dance, arms looped around each others’ necks, my boyfriend and my friends bound with limbs to me. And in that photo, the end of the year party, I see a glimpse of my favorite sundress, and just obscuring the rest are three boys, all of us crouched, mouths open, singing. So many moments in dresses, celebrating one thing or another, celebrating all the many more moments we had in our uniforms, struggling through coursework or a particularly hard passage from Shakespeare.

And then the senior pictures and quotes, ensconced in black. Senior pictures were “student’s choice,” so there are the boys with their oboes and the girls with their horns, the dance photos or the artsy-edgy shots. The senior quotes run the gamut… permanent reminders of what was in our hearts all those years ago.

S– Theatre
“I want to live and feel all the shaes, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life.” –Sylvia Plath

J– Creative writing
Water for my horses, and whiskey for my men!

B– Euphonium
“I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later.” –Miles Davis

E– Motion Picture Arts
“I wasn’t born yesterday, you know. I’ve seen movies.” –Aqua Teen Hunger Force

J– Visual Arts
Do unicorns wear bikinis?
Do they complain about their thighs?
Will they strut their stuff, wink,
At those fiesty uniform guys?
In the winter, will they fake bake?
Make their pure coats a scandalous brown?
Will they count their unicorn calories,
Refuse to keep their food down?
Does your unicorn wear bikinis?
Is it low on self-esteem?
Reassure your unicorn,
Feed it fatty ice cream!
— A, Creative Writing

And my picture, sharing the the frame with a Shakespeare bobble-head doll. A picture of three-year-old-me, a daisy crown on my head. So we’ll live, and pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh at gilded butterflies. —King Lear

High School Boyfriend

I got out of work at 5pm and stopped briefly in the 4th floor bathroom to give the hair a once-over (I wish I’d showered…), and then shot off a text: “I’m free! Where are you”

I left the building, and quickly got a text response from him, that he was near Columbus Circle. After a bit of confusion and a quick phone call (“Just.. stay where you are! I’ll come to you, okay?”) I met him on the corner of Columbus and 60th.

He looks the same, warm, soft face, brown eyes, scruff and mussed brown hair. I was thrilled that he seemed as happy to see me as I was to see him. Two indecisive people together is a bad mix, but I decided since he is a Scottish boy, I might as well go full pub, and led the march towards Lincoln Park. I got a glass of wine at the bar, he got a Blue Moon. We found an empty booth and scooched in.

The talk flowed easily, as it always does, although I’m always shy about talking too much. Most of our talk focused on acting, on ridiculous auditions, on the difference between London theatre and New York theatre, agents and journeys and meant-to-be’s and not-to-bes. I drank slowly, still not quite over the night before’s overindulgence. He went through two “pints” (who says that? I love it) and then he paid the tab and we went outside so he could “pinch a fag.” (I told him that it wasn’t such a good idea to say that in Hell’s Kitchen).

He was very clear that if I had a “night” planned, it was totally fine. But I didn’t, and he didn’t, and maybe he got bored of me but I don’t think so, and I think we mutually decided it was going to be a full night of friendship.

We ambled down 9th Ave, chatting, trying to figure out the next step. “We should eat… Are you hungry? You’re probably hungry, right?” “I mean, it’s 7:10, we should eat probably, especially if we’re drinking more…” We stopped on 49th and I said I’d be glad to pick a place to eat, but he had to give me some parameters. What did he want to eat? I threw out some options, stay in Hell’s Kitchen, go down to the more neighborhood-y Village (he’d mentioned that’s what he liked about London and disliked about NYC), or we could go uptown to near my place where there were some great new places (he’s staying in Harlem too, so it seemed sensible). “You like beer, right?” He stared at me. “Okay, so we’ll go up to near my place and get beer and food at Harlem Tavern, okay?” He grinned. “Sounds perfect.”

We walked to the uptown 50th St. C, where very quickly we got on a train. As it rumbled up 8th Ave, we talked about high school, folks we remember, folks who have grown up in great ways, folks who haven’t. He, I think, has even less to hold onto from that time… I still feel nostalgic for it (and him, as part of that). Both of us, though, haven’t been back and don’t relish the rehashing of memory—it doesn’t define us and neither of us have gone back since graduating. In fact, both of us made the same pledge to ourselves—that we wouldn’t return until we were important enough to be asked to return to be on the “Alumni Panel” (a program in the Theatre department where they bring back high-performing alums to lead workshops and do Q&As with the students).

Soon, we got off the train in Harlem and crossed the street to Harlem Tavern. I’d been once before, for brunch, and it’s a lovely, lovely space, even on a rainy night. He laughed and told me that I’d made a great choice. They seated us on the covered patio, where we could watch the rain pour just one plastic sheath away. I ordered a Stella, and he got one of the nicer beers on tap. We glanced over the menu. “How hungry are you,” he asked me. “I mean, I’m hungry but like, not…” “Okay…” “No, what are you thinking, tell me.” “Okay, I’m just going to put this on the table and you can take it or leave it…” “Sure, lay it down.” “How do you feel about sharing a pot of mussels?”

I stared at him, the same look he gave me when I asked if he liked beer. I just had a wave of “Oh my god, this boy knows me better than anyone I’ve met in my life.” Out loud, I grinned and said it was the best idea I’d ever heard. So we ordered.

The talk flowed smoothly and playfully. We talked about our parents and aging, about our dreams of travel and culture shock, of feeling out of place, of “radical acceptance,” about my cat and his dream dog, and about kids. “I’m not one of those people that has planned out my wedding, or having kids… I don’t put limits on myself. I just honestly don’t know what’s going to happen, and I just feel like it’s not going to happen for a long while. If I have kids, I’ll probably do what my mom did and not have them till I’m, like, 35. My sister will get married and have kids way before me. My bet is in the next seven years.”

He agreed with me. “Yeah, we know better now than to make those kind of plans.” Earlier we’d talked about how hindsight is 20/20, but both of us have had to go through the process of allowing the path we didn’t expect to become a path we embrace. He told about a mutual friend, who all through college told him, “Man, we were meant to go to Juilliard.” To which he responded, laughing, “Man, if we were meant to go to Juilliard, we’d have gone to Juilliard.” Which is exactly how I feel. He agreed with my assessment that life at our pre-eminent boarding high school set us up to think that if you work really hard, if you’re really good, then you will get big parts and you will be a star. We learned that there was a system of work & reward, and they told us we were the best and so we thought the best would come to us. Because that’s what fair is.

But that’s not what life is. You are constantly finding yourself on a detour or seeing a vista you never thought you’d see, every day another step farther from the path you thought you were “meant to” have. And every day, he and I both agreed, you have to find a way to justify it and accept it and allow it to be yours, and therefore, “meant to be.”

In the talk of kids, and how we liked them but like… not now… I brought up L for the first time. I couldn’t believe it hadn’t come up earlier, but now that she’s super functional and doing so well, the horror days of the hospital seem less urgent, less an everyday part of my life. But I wanted to tell him, so I segway-ed by talking about how I felt like I got a real glimpse of what taking care of a child was like when L was sick. Extreme illness turns people into children—that’s just the way it is, no judgment, just the truth.

I told him how great I was the first three days when I could mother in a controlled way—asking the doctors questions, getting her food, carrying her bag, helping make decisions—but when the emotional stuff started, I felt ill-equipped. What do you say to your friend who is sobbing because she can’t act for two years and she is vomiting and shitting simultaneously and she cries every morning because she can’t believe this is her life and if someone doesn’t fucking text her back they are no longer her friend? What do you say? How do you take care of someone who is (understandably) irrational and extremely upset (the steroids and meds she’s on are really why this happens, although depression and knowing you have cancer doesn’t make you a ray of sunshine at all times).

The way he looked at me when I talked about this was so kind. He just looked at me, almost in awe, but mostly just as though he was completely hearing me and wanting to hear me and wanting to know more. He didn’t interrupt, he just heard. That’s rare. Truly. And he said it was “amazing” I was able to do that. And I shared how amazing it was to see my group of friends, my little circle of “other” family, step up and really be incredibly strong for this one member.

Anyway, it was a really good, good talk (and the mussels rocked too). Around 9:50pm, he paid the bill (despite my arguing—it really was insanely generous), and he got a text from the friend he’s staying with. He looked up at me and asked what my night was. Again, I smiled and said that this was what my night was. “What do you want to do? What does Sam want to do?”

After some fudging back and forth, I said, “Well, my apartment is covered in laundry, but if you want you can come over and meet my cat.”

He smiled and said, “I’d love to meet your cat.”

So we left Harlem Tavern and walked the block to my apartment. “Okay, after this I swear I will stop, but I just want you to know that I live alone so it’s kind of messy and don’t judge me—“ “You really have to stop with that. I don’t care.”

So I brought him into my cove, and immediately we dropped our bags and gave some attention to Franny (he is a huge Salinger fan, so when I told him the name he put his hand to his heart and sighed, “That’s amazing.”) I cleared some drying shirts off the couch and pushed some things to the side, and we sat down on the rug. Boys love this rug. I can’t explain it. My other ex-boyfriend did the same thing, running his fingers through the shag saying, “I love this rug, seriously, it’s amazing.” Um, I guess?

We continued to talk and play with Franny, who was doing her best to entertain us—running back and forth, rolling on her back, pouncing and nibbling and preening. I appreciated how much he seemed to like her, and it didn’t feel weird to just sit quietly and watch Fran watch us at moments. I got us some water, and he stood to look at my bookshelf and walls.

He stopped at a laminated article my mother had sent, on the wall by my desk. “What is this?” “Oh my god, have you never seen this?” It’s an article and photo of my mother and I at a pro-choice rally when I was 5 years old. My mom had been an escort at a clinic for a number of years, as in New Hampshire (where I was born), it was pretty dicey and there were continuous hecklers and protestors outside all the clinics. I’m holding a sign that says, “Stop the Violence Now,” and my mom is quoted as saying, “I want my daughter to have choices over her body, when the time comes.” Sometimes that freaks people out, but he seemed truly taken by it—proud of my mom and impressed by the whole thing. Of course, this talk led to some talk about politics and the coming election (our political views are very much in line with each other) and the fear of a Romney-Rice ticket and what that might mean.

At my bookshelf, I pulled out a few choice plays and he gazed over my book selection (we are both big nerds). “You know, I always read books with a pencil now because of you.”

And then I showed him my quote cabinets (in the process of recovery, I made a bunch of papers filled with meaningful quotes, because I love quotes and I’m a nerd to put on my cabinets to help me think actively about my food choices and to remind me of my feelings in the process of eating). And I said to him, “I put these up here, and there used to be more, all over, when I was in the process of beginning to recover from… um… various different… um, eating disorders.” And we began to talk about my ED process.

I didn’t have the words to explain it to him, because I didn’t want to use words that would be misconstrued. I wanted to explain to him that my ED was a symptom of my depression (and I did us those exact words) and not a sudden change in my body consciousness or anything like that. “It was like, if I was controlling my eating then it meant I didn’t actually have to feel my feelings, you know? Like it was numbing, which is managing those feelings, but ineffectively. I actually, like, should be feeling things. And that’s why I say breakdown (which we’ve been talking about), because I really had to completely lose it in order to start feeling again.” “It’s like having an addiction to drinking, you can quit drinking. Cigarettes, you can quit smoking. You still have to eat, you know, so for me it’s about finding a way to eat that fits my life… Like in order to get sane about food it takes conscious effort.” He seemed to really want to understand, asking, “So, you want to be thinking more? That’s why the quotes?” “So, did you um, eat too little, or too much, or?” “All of the above.” And whenever I apologized for not having the words to explain it, he shook his head, saying “No, don’t worry, I just want to understand.” I made it clear to him that I was lucky—“It all started at Williamstown, and I have such a good group of people around me that like, within two months, literally every person had come up and been like, ‘hey, do you wanna talk?’”

“So I remember, after we graduated, you um, you went off… didn’t you, like, weren’t there meds?” “Oh, yeah, I’m back on them now.” “And that’s good?” “Yeah, it’s great. I think it was stupid to go off them in the first place. I have really come to realize that like… this is my life. Everyone has their things, you know? And mine is that I’m just going to be depressed. My whole life. It’s not like suddenly I’m 18 and a grown up and all of that genetic structure will go away. So it’s just managing it in a way that lets me live my life, and I’m doing that, you know?”

He was so generous with me. I’m not sure I’ve talked to anyone about it quite like that. And it was so brief of a discussion, and I assured him that I was doing incredibly well and that I’d said farewell to my nutritionist a couple of months ago (“I hated her.” “Why?” “Well, I don’t know, I just felt like she was my therapist but only wanted to talk about food which I just didn’t want to talk about, especially literally twenty minutes after therapy. I had a job and school and shows and like 3 doctor appointments a week, so it just wasn’t fun. But she’s the one who suggested all the papers.” “The quotes?” “Yeah, the quotes.”)

His phone rang—his friend. I don’t think either of us wanted to part, but he felt a responsibility, and it was already 11pm. We chatted a bit more, talked about accents, his accidental bump up to first class, and then when another lull happened, he looked at me. “You’re tired. I should go and meet up with Sam.” I acquiesced, and drew him a map to get to 116 and Broadway. We hugged, and very quickly, he was gone.

It was… wonderful. I surprise myself with the people I still feel connected to, even after all these years. And who’da thunk the high school boyfriend, my first everything, would feel just as familiar, perhaps even more similar to me, five years later on a rainy night in NYC.

He can move back to the States any time. He could grow into an amazing friend.

Thick or Thin

There is a Japanese horror movie called Audition that I watched with a group of friends my freshman year of college. It is not about auditioning for theatre, TV or film, but sometimes auditions for theatre, TV, and films could easily be a horror movie. I found some great, great quotes from actors about auditioning I just wanted to share. Then, real talk.

I think that there should be a rule that if you make me audition for something more than 2 times after the 3rd audition, no matter what happens you have to send me a gift basket of really nice spa products or flowers. I think you’d feel better… You’d be like, “I didn’t get it but look… free soap.”

Julie WhiteMichael Clayton, Transformers, Tony Winner The Little Dog Laughed

When you’re a lawyer, you don’t have to take the bar exam, every time you go to trial. When you’re a dentist you don’t have to take the dental exam every time you do oral surgery. When you’re a performer, when you’re an actor, you do have to kind of prove yourself every time.

Julie Halston Broadway Production of Gypsy, Sex and the City

You’ve got to have, as an actor, a thick skin to get through that kind of experience. But in the middle of it, if you sit down to read or audition, you’ve got to have a thin skin to give out what you think you can offer. And so it’s a constant confusion about what time are you thick and what time are you thin.

Tom LacyThe Royal Tenenbaums, Original Broadway Production Two Shakespearean Actors

You get the pages and it says, “She bursts into tears.” And you’re like, “Great.” I am not a crier. I don’t cry on cue. I can bring myself there… but if you’re sitting there and you wait for over an hour, it’s very difficult. It’s like saying the same word over and over again, it doesn’t make sense to you anymore. So by the time you walk in you might be so fried in your brain because you’ve been running that scene and trying to stay in that emotional place… for like an hour. It’s exhausting. And by the time you get in there, you don’t have the moment. And you leave the room and have the moment in the elevator on the way down.

Missi Pyle The Artist, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish, Broadway Production of 
Boeing, Boeing

Okay. Remember how I am a founding member of a theatre company? So that was great when I actually, like, WAS A MEMBER of this theatre company. Tonight I found out via TWITTER that “we” are producing a show in the Fringe this summer. I’d seen a posting for auditions for this project (though Fringe wasn’t specified), and I’d heard it mentioned around in the last few months and our non-present co-Artistic Director is attached to it (this is the same AD who nearly ruined my August in the Fringe last year). But I didn’t even know we’d applied to Fringe, a process that takes months. It’s not like I haven’t seen them in months. Just because I don’t live with you doesn’t mean I don’t matter. Does it?!

So. Why wasn’t I told? Why wasn’t it even mentioned? Why am I always out of the loop?

If I’m going to survive this summer, I have to stop caring about them. I think.

I might be losing all my friends this summer. I’m scared. What happens when you leave when people who are already starting to leave you?

You get lost.

ETA: I texted one of my friends in the company “Uh? Fringe? Wha?” this afternoon, and she recently responded with this long text about why it was such a good idea. I responded, “Sure. I’m just surprised to have found out on twitter :)” She responded that she thought I’d been told on my birthday. Um, nope, I was drunk, but not drunk enough to not remember THAT.

My relationship with these people is like my ED. It’s awful.

When I’m with them, I feel special and like nothing could possibly go wrong– loved and nurtured and important. Same when I’m doing well with eating– I feel physically great and emotionally bright and open and confident in myself.

On the other hand, when shit like this goes down, I feel terrible, alone, lost, confused, and not-good-enough. Exactly like I feel when I’ve binged! Which of course I did today and Thursday! Because I’m just that fucked right now!

I’ve talked to my therapist about this. I think she’s confused as to why I’m so freaked out about not being the first on the speed-dial (she doesn’t say this, but I’ve known her for a long time). She tried to remind me that oftentimes I’m not purposefully forgotten, I just live in a different part of the island, there was just a miscommunication… and that I justneed a little bit more care as a friend. Which makes me feel like shit because no one wants a needy friend.

I saw N and R from high school yesterday, R in her senior showcase and N afterwards for wine and a movie. I can’t quite explain how lovely the evening was. There was something easy and unstressful and pure about the relationship I have with these two women I shared two years of my life with. I’m never afraid I’m bragging, never shy about disagreeing, never concerned about saying the wrong thing. It was warm and cozy and comfy and I left and didn’t feel like I had to explain myself or delay or feel bad… I just was purely me with purely another and it was perfect. And they want to know what I think, and I’m not afraid they’ll judge what I’ll say and I’m not afraid I’ll sound stupid. And N called me this afternoon because of a silly boy crush and sometimes all I want is to transport myself back to that dorm in the Michigan woods where we signed in at 10:30pm and doors were unlocked and everyone knew everyone was smart and talented so no one was scared and of course I’m romanticizing but how on earth did I have friendships that didn’t terrify me and how can I have that back because I can’t take it anymore.

It’s not them, honestly, it’s me. But I have to figure out how to make little shit like this not trigger a meltdown.

(well, that entry took on a life of its own)

The Dear’st Sweet’st Creatures

Tonight, I ushered Leap of Faith on Broadway. It’s one of the side jobs I have to make a couple of bucks– I usher at all the Broadway houses owned by Jujamcyn. I haven’t done it in a while, because of busyness, and some pretty rough experiences in November (let me just say that On a Clear Day you don’t WANT to See Forever).

The music was written by the father of one of my best friends from high school, who I still feel so strongly connected to. I love her SO much, and did in high school too, obviously. I knew he’d be around, as the show is still in previews, but couldn’t spot him pre-show. However, as I stood in my silly red scarf and blacks on the side, seating people in orchestra right, I saw himand his wife rush down from the mezz. I looked purposefully at them, but they seemed in a hurry. Finally, I bucked up and was like, this is my moment. “Hey!” I said with a grin, “It’s B, from high school!”

He broke into a wide smile and pulled me in for a huge hug. “Oh my god! Becca! How are you!” We chatted for a moment, catching up briefly, and then I had to actually do my job and so did he. I ran to seat some folks, and when I returned to my post, he and his wife were gone. But I was grinning. I was remembered. I was special. My dear friend had mentioned to her father that I’d be ushering this week (I’d texted her about it). I could feel that he felt the same way my parents do to my dearest high school friends– since I went to boarding school and the relationships we developed were familial, they’re almost surrogate parents. Proud parents.

After the first twenty or so minutes, I stepped out to get my next assignment (as I’m a sub usher, I’m almost always on the late shift). I told them that I wanted to watch the whole show (I always prefer that to sitting awkwardly outside the house… waiting). They allowed me to move to house left, where there’s a staircase to sit on. I planted low on the stairs, the entire production team stacked above me and against the back wall of the house.

The show was… fine. But during intermission, I spotted a familiar face– an actor I’ve known since I was a child in Idaho who is now a friend in NYC (I was in love with him, and his Romeo, his Proteus, his Hal, etc from the moment I saw him at age 8 to the moment I was first onstage with him at age 18). He’s seen a couple of my shows, one when I was a sophomore, and Friends Don’t Let Friends in December, to which he brought his wonderful girlfriend. At the show tonight, as he and his girlfriend were heading to the bathroom, they stopped to chat. After the show, after they left the theatre, as I was standing at the house left door, he and his girlfriend popped back in to invite me to grab a drink next door. My instinct is always “no,” because I don’t like it when my plans go awry… but I said yes.

I met up with them at Smith’s after I’d changed into my jeans and taken off my scarf. He pulled me up a chair, and I met their two friends from her work. We spent about an hour and I drank the cheapest Tanqueray and Tonic of my life ($5, seriously?!). He mentioned he was disappointed that he hadn’t introduced me to his agent, who was in the house. “I think they’re still not taking white girls, but.” We laughed. “I’m freelancing with a new commercial agency, though, so once I’m in there, I’ll do my best to get you in the door.”

We all parted ways after a super chill one drink evening. Just perfection, and I’m still showered and posting this by 12:30am. Not too bad.

It’s the people you don’t expect who have the ability to show up and change your day and paste a goofy grin on your face.

B.

“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.”
Joan Didion